Damascus Mayor Pro-Tem arrested for fighting at meeting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Damascus Mayor Pro-Tem arrested for fighting at meeting

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

DAMASCUS,  GA (WALB) –  A Damascus City councilwoman is charged with assaulting council members and pushing the city clerk to the floor.

The clerk stayed home today with bruises, a swollen knee, and back and wrist pain. This all arose from a heated city council meeting.

The mayor of Damascus says councilwoman Gloria McMurray has a history of creating conflict and frequently disrupts meeting. And last night, a council disagreement came to a violent end.

A Notice on the door of the Damascus City council room says visitors must conduct themselves in a professional manner. But Tuesday afternoon it was a council member that caused all the disruption.

"I received a call to city hall in reference to a fight," said Police Chief Jerry Evers.

The council had called an emergency meeting to sign papers on a grant for a new city well. The issue of cost quickly escalated into an argument between Mayor Pro-Tem Gloria McMurray and councilwoman Phyllis Kraft.

And then, it got physical.

"It was mostly a lot of pushing," said the Chief.

"We tried to keep them apart," said City councilman Nathaniel Thompson. He and city clerk Gloria Wynds tried holding McMurray back from Kraft. But Wynds was knocked to the floor and hit a chair on her way down.

"Unfortunately I had to go and arrest the Mayor Pro-Tem," said Chief Evers.

"It sounds kinda like a cat fight," said Damascus citizen Willie Butler.

And word of the scuffle spread quickly.

"They are our leaders, they should be acting as our role models not showing us violence," said Damascus woman Clara Varnun.

"I was surprised, mostly men get into fights you dont usually hear about women," said Butler.

McMurray was released from the Early County jail Wednesday afternoon.  She's charged with two counts of simple battery, two counts of simple assault and disrupting a meeting.

"As a condition of her bond she can't have contact with any city council members which will void here from coming to meetings," said Mayor Vivian Pounder.

The mayor called a meeting Thursday to allow the board to vote on whether to remove McMurray as Mayor Pro-Tem and decide what to do now.

The Mayor was not present at the meeting. She travels a lot for her job and was at the airport on her way back to Damascus when the fight occurred.

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